COVER IS AWESOME.
I Sarah Dessen That is all.
Okay, I lie That is NOT all How could I use only six words when the possibility of six hundred exists My lawyer genes would go into revolt I really, really liked What Happened to Goodbye In fact, it just might rank up there with my other Dessen favourites, Just Listen and The Truth about Forever.
Generally, I tend to like Dessen heroes better than Dessen heroines It was Owen and Wes who really lit up Just Listen and The Truth About Forever for me Surprisingly, though, in this book, I found myself really, really liking Mclean Mclean Sweet has moved four towns in the last two years Her father works as a consultant for an eatery chain, and his job is to rehab restaurants that have not been performing to standards Her parents divorced two years ago, when her mother cheated on her dad with the coach of his favourite basketball team, a double betrayal that has left Mclean angry and bitter And unsure of her identity.
In an attempt to escape her past, and her parents very public divorce, Mclean has taken to reinventing herself at every school she goes to She s been Beth and Lizbeth and Eliza, but never, ever Mclean Somehow, though, this changes when she moves to Lakeview For some reason, despite her efforts, she can t seem to get away from her real name, and consequently, her real self Soon she finds herself making friends, and even possibly falling seriously for a boy As with most Dessen novels, this one is populated by a kooky cast of adorable friends, all of whom I loved Riley, who only seems to fall for douchebags, Heather, who has no sense of conversational appropriateness, Deb, so lonely before Mclean enters her life and Dave, the boy genius who lives next door and makes Mclean feel strangely comfortable and secure The main reason this book worked so well for me, though, was Mclean Sarah Dessen s heroines generally tend to bepassive aggressive than pro active Even their rebellions are slow things, a bubbling under the cauldron that finally froths over Mclean, however, is open about her anger and her conflict from the word go She doesn t secretly rebel she fights her mother with everything she s got, for the right to make her own choices She doesn t mince any words in expressing her anger and disappointment with her mother, and she doesn t let her mom s clingy ways steamroller her There was never any point where I wanted to shake her and scream SAY IT ALREADY , which is a thing that happens all too often to me with Sarah Dessen s other heroines I also liked that this book wasn t unnecessarily angsty My favourite part was the one where she draws the school outcast Deb into her circle of friends, giving her a social life for the first time It felt positive and affirmatory and I was cheering her on, and really liking her.
I also liked how Mclean s relationship with her mom played out, going from anger and disappointment, to compromise and finally, to a tenuous peace The romance, as always, was sweet and sigh worthy Dave is not my favourite Dessen hero, but he was adorable nonetheless The only thing that disturbed me was the fact that he didn t fight his over protective, over ambitious parents, but I guess it s okay that he picked and chose his own battles All in all, this was an excellent read, like most of Dessen s books But there s one thing I ve come to realize, and that is that you either like Sarah Dessen s style, or you don t If you do, the relative sameness of her books is like a comforting security blanket you can always return to If you don t, well, you might want to give this one a miss.
I REALLY LIKE SARAH DESSEN.
Sometimes, I forget that Even as I ve been rereading her books this year Sometimes, you get That Summer or Dreamland or The Truth about Forever A disappointment.
But then Then Sometimes you get Just Listen Actuallyup until this point that was the only definitively fun one out of this reread so far.
UNTIL THIS POINT Because What Happened to Goodbye is another Sarah Dessen at her best type of deal.
Summery vibe Cute love interest Family drama that comes to a Disney esque happily ever after comforting solution A group of friends featuring strong female friendships And, as always, a sort of meh teenage girl protagonist who goes through a lot and comes out the other side character developed, like a factory but with emotional breakdowns and crying jags instead of mysterious machines.
A lot of the fun of Dessen books comes down to the details Parents jobs particulars of the familial drama whether the book takes place in Dessen s beach town or Dessen s town town quirks of the cast of characters who will become the protagonist s friends exactly how boring the love interest is it s always somewhat boring whether the main character is kind, brave, or smart those are the only options.
This one comes down pretty well McLean s dad is a restaurant consultant, which is SO FUN The family drama is that McLean s mom cheated on her dad with his hero, which is a tad too messy but still comes out all right in the end The book is set in the non beach town, which I usually like less but it works this time The characters aren t overly quirky, but they banter well, which is better The love interest is pretty unboring, by Dessen standards McLean is kind, which is good, because she s sweet to characters that are sometimes laughed off by other Dessen teen girls.
Bottom line Sarah Dessen always writes by a formula This time, the formula works Hurray I finished this book yesterday afternoon when I was sitting in the waitingroom at my doctor s office and really had nothing else to do which probably says enough.
Seriously, I consider myself a Sarah Dessen fan I have read almost all of her books and enjoyed the majority of them to various degrees What Happened to Goodbye, however, was a huge disappointment for me The beginning was great, the whole set up, the restaurant setting, but then the whole thing just fizzled out around page 100 And it s a long way to go from page 100 to page 400 Frankly speaking, I just found the rest of the book incredibly boring I m finding it difficult to really tell you why, but to me, it was just lacking the usual charm and heart Let me tell you, I don t read Dessen s books because they are particularly deep and yes, I know they all follow the same formula I read them for fun I read them because, in my opinion, not a lot of authors can capture this feeling of change and growth, combined with lovely summer vibes and a swoon worthy guy as well as her But here, the things I normally love about Dessen s books were strangely muted and didn t really come across Not that I didn t like Mclean as a character she just didn t stand out in any particular way for me And despite the fact that I love to ramble about Dessen s guys see later , the main character s voice is what carries the book And if I don t really care about her, I don t care about the book either The next thing is the quirky group of new friends Well, Mclean s friends were fun in this typically quirky way, but still, nothing too special And then, Dave was a big disappointment as the love interest From his description, he sounded very interesting a science genius wanting the real high school experience and therefore giving up on university classes and the like, but in execution, he was just a very flat and boring character Call me superficial, but Dessen s guys are often the best about her books I loved Wes from The Truth about Forever, Eli from Along for the Ride, Owen from Just Listen and Dexter from This Lullaby, and basically, those are the books I would recommend first and that I would label lovely comfort reads Sorry to say, but with books like this my rule is no swooning no fun All in all, if you are a Dessen fan like me, you will probably read this anyway and form your own opinion If you are no Dessen fan, you probably don t want to read this anyway But if you haven t read anything by her yet and are looking for a good book to start with, I wouldn t recommend What Happened to Goodbye.
Look whose back with another basic 3 stared contemporary read You know what kinda funny not really if I read this book 12 months ago, I probably would havediedover how cute it was But now as I am cough a veteran reader cough I have gone through too many contemporaries to know that this ranks as mehSo what do we got here McLean s parents divorced a few years back and ever since, she s been living with her father although her mother would gladly have her With her father, comes his spontaneous life as a restaurant consultant McLean has moved four towns in two years which, let s be real, isn t that much Each time she reinvents herself as someone new but this time, it miiiiight just be a little different insert clich tropes here Kay, basically we got the obvious.
I cannot TELL you how annoyed I get withUnnecessary DramaIt s such an overused trope.
MC does something totally normal and believable Whinny annoying character oh my gosh flips hair I cannot BELIEVE you just did that, you ve betrayed us all, we must shun you for the remained of the week.
Okay, okay, I mayyyy just be exaggerating that a bit, but that s how I felt while I was reading it And then there s theIrrational dumb behaviourI was sixteen not too long ago I did silly things sometimes I made mistakes Sure, that s all great, but NEVER did I do something as irrational as these kids do Can t mention the incident bc of spoilers but know that it was totally and completely unnecesarry Okay, okay, so I think I may be slamming this too hard, because let s face it, I gave it 3 stars Why you may ask Well, because my not so lovely friend, Pragya, would have erased me from her life if I didn t Now that s friendship goals, amirite Oh yeah and the plot was unique This was a cute book that was surprisingly captivating despite my earlier complaints It had a good message and the romance wasn t overbearing I know Sarah Dessen has grew much from these books so that s why I m willing to forgive these shortcomings.
Just don t expect me to not rant about itI mean, it s not surprising, really Once you love something, you always love it in some way You have to It s, like, part of you for good 2.
75 stars Home wasn t a set house, or a single town on a map It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go , After Mclean s parents divorced, Mclean was on the move with her father from house to house Needing a change, Mclean decided to change her name and personality for every school she moved to Once time she was Eliza, then she was Lizbet and later Beth For every name, there is a different character with different characteristics One of the names represented a smart and organized girl while the other one is a popular and cool kid Mclean moves another time and when she does, for some reason, she feels comfortable Instead of going with another name, Mclean decided to go with her own name because it just slipped out She doesn t know who she is any and doesn t know her real self To make it even worse, Mclean has to deal with her mother who is constantly bothering her Will Mclean find out who she really is, or make up another character and move againYour past is always your past Even if you forget it, it remembers youI really enjoyed this book, I found Mclean really easy to relate to and she was always funny This book felt so real in so many different levels Mclean had her flaws and that s what made her arealistic character I understood her feelings and it felt so good to read and agree with almost everything the character says Sarah Dessen, how do you make such amazing books with the best lessons I am glad I read this book after Along for the Ride because the stories connected and we got to see one of the characters from Along for the Ride in this book I love when stories connect, it makes the book evenrealistic than it already isAccepting all the good and bad about someone It s a great thing to aspire to The hard part is actually doing itThe characters were the best part about this book, I loved almost everybody Dave is so hilarious and I loved the basketball scenes The way he met Mclean was so different and funny, he is so weird but you still love him Mclean is so easy to relate to but is very confused about her life Riley is such a nice and supporting friend and I wish she was here in our world Deb might be the character that goes through the exact same thing that I go through, I really like her and how Mclean helped her out Heather was really funny too and I really liked how she said everything she thinks, without thinking about other people s feelings Opal was another hilarious character and although she can be a mess at times, she was still one of the best characters Mclean s dad is easy going and I like how we get to see his side as a boss and his side as a dad They are both completely different from each other but I really loved reading about it I didn t like Mclean s mother much, but maybe it is because of how Mclean saw her I liked her a little bitin the end, but she still annoyed me so muchIt wasn t about being happy or unhappy I just didn t want to be me anyAnother aspect that I loved about this story is the comedy After a serious conversation or sad moment, you get a really funny scene I recommend that you read this when you are alone because if you are caught laughing while reading, people will assume you are going crazy That s what happened to me Anyway, I felt like all the characters had a side that was hilarious and they were only showing it when they were comfortable It was really interesting to see how all the characters bonded and became closer to each other It makes the storyreal and believable and I really wish that I got a little It was like when you ripped a piece of paper into two no matter how you tried, the seams never fit exactly right againI highly recommend this book to those who are in the middle of a huge reading slump, this will definitely take you out of it I also recommend this to those who read Sarah Dessen s book because this book is amazing and I know you will love it I also recommend this to people who haven t read a single Sarah Dessen book where have you been Anyway, read this book Trust me, it s really good and you won t regret itAll those clean, fresh starts had made me forget what it was like, until now, to be messy and honest and out of control To be real
The premise intrigued me a lot I grew up as a military kid that moved around and I always did contemplate starting with a new slate Be a different person maybe present myself differently because the impression of who I am isn t set I never did because it s hard to be someone you re not, just as Mclean figures out.
I felt the chaos and love that goes into restaurants I caught the excitement of watching a basketball game I live in place where college basketball is followed like a religion, and she got the feel of it just right I got mad at Mclean s mom but then understood her I got to see how to start something big even if it seems impossible I learned even a small change, one moment can make the difference But most importantly I know why it s important to find a place to call home To find the people who will be home for you I wasn t sure why some people were expressing that they didn t fall in love with Dave Dave is so unique and sweet in his own way I think because the relationship arc is different for Mclean and Dave that people couldn t connect with him the same way they did with the other leading guys But he is a great guy, no disputing that My top character choice for this book is Deb Deb is fantastic She isthan meets the eye and she isn t ashamed to be herself Gotta love a character like that Dessen fans will read the book but I urge people who haven t to try one of her books She really is in my opinion the best young adult realistic author out today She captures the female teenage voice and presents it in a way that is relatable to people Though not my favorite book I still stayed up late at night to finish and rooted for Mclean to find her normal and fully embrace the people who get who the real her is Side note While I was reading this, this song popped into my head I was learning how to play it on the guitar and it feels like it fits the story It s kind of the flip of what could have happen if Mclean had decided to keep running away from herself.
What Happened to Goodbye has no huge inciting incident or great source of tension Instead the book quietly unfolds in layers each time Dessen revisits a scene sub plot, she goes just a little bit further than the previous time givingdepth and insight into her characters lives, relationships and what makes them the way they are Ad infintum and you reach the resolution where Dessen has begun with isolated characters she ends with a motley group of friends who have bonded and each come to some form of self actualisation.
Dessen immerses the reader completely in her characters lives She is the queen of exploring relationships and the subtle things that connect family s and friends She takes her time in creating atmosphere and introducing characters with all their nuances.
There was no mistaking Dessen s signature prose when first diving into What Happened to Goodbye Even without her name on the cover I could easily pick her as the author There s an instant sense of familiarity when opening up the books from having read her previous work.
However, I have never been her biggest most loyal fan I anticipate her books, hoping to connect, but she is a hit and miss author for me A few of her books are favourites of mine and perfect for a rainy day comfort read, but others of hers have left little impact and been quickly forgotten Fans are also split on their favourite titles so it s hard to predict which of you will find this bumping on their favourites list and which of you will find it all a little too meh like me.
So here s what I enjoyed Mclean s dad and the restaurant dramas It s chaotic and sensory and fun and those scenes were highlights for me.
The first meet cute between Mclean and Dave I am a fan of meet cutes I also liked the 2nd and 3rd scenes with them together.
My two favourite characters were Opal restaurant chick and Deb high school student enthusiast Opal had a lot of heart and a bit of snark her scenes added some energy to the book And Deb, well, she s lovable and cringe worthy all at the same time and completely interesting.
I like how Dessen cameos characters from her past books I ll leave them for you to findDespite the parts I enjoyed, overall I was left feeling underwhelmed.
I personally prefer my books to have a biturgency to them even if it is a quiet urgency.
The lack of tension or driving force with any of the sub plots resulted in me flipping the pages rather disinterestedly towards the end If it hadn t been a Dessen book with some form of expectation I am not sure i would have made it past half way.
While Mclean struggled to find who she was I struggled to get a feel for her She was just a Dessen esque narrator voice The secondary characters certainly out shone her.
I won t deny that my favourite parts of previous Dessen novels have been the swoon factor And it was noticeably lacking here I am not sure what technique Dessen was trying to employ with the romance, but there was no pull of attraction or tingly sparks between Mclean and Dave The romantic sub plot was largely ignored and by the time it appeared at the end it was too late for me to feel invested in it at all Although Dave himself was a cool enough character, he just did not work as a love interest for me Really, this book just did not cater to my tastes It felt bloated with descriptions, back story and the repeated motifs were too obvious for me I prefer asubtle exploration of themes.
I struggled at the beginning where too many characters were introduced in little snippets and then revisited later and it took me a while to get my head around everyone I also feel a few characters were introduced in detail and then completely fizzled out of the story which had me wondering why have them in there at all I also am not a fan of always describing what someone is wearing Especially if they are wearing the exact same outfit every time you seen them or if they are an irrelevant by stander.
Probably irrelevant to the rest of you but I feel irked by Dessen s love of The Comma She s a doozy for using long sentences with commas everywhere, and while grammatically correct, it really breaks the flow and completely distracts me Same thing with her signature lines such as he just stood there, looking at me we stood there we just sat there There s a lot of just standing just sitting and just looking haha Also, she clearly loves the word clearly which she enthusiastically uses in all her books Must read for Sarah Dessen fans.
My deep like for What Happened to Goodbye comes down to one thing the protag McLean Sweet I liked her for lots of reasons and not just because I can relate to her determination to not look down until she identifies a constellation or two when looking up at a starry sky, or because like McLean I ve never been one to just put myself out there on day one Also it s not just because we both have a name you ve got to live up it, yeah some days it s not all sweet and lovely When it comes down to it, it was McLean s philosophy on people and life Plain and simple She hit home for me in so many ways that at the end of the day, I could relate on so many levels and that s what made her a compelling character in my eyes.
McLean and her dad have moved from town to town for the past few years There was a messy, public divorce along with a gut wrenching betrayal that led McLean s dad to close his restaurant and take a consulting job that has them packing their suitcases about every six months McLean doesn t mind She loves being on the road with her father and changing her identity at every stop, but all that takes a turn when they come to Luna Blue There she meets some great friends and becomes part of a community where hiding behind someone she s not is no longer an option.
The majority of this story revolves around McLean s strained relationship with her mom There was a heated moment in the book where she tells her mom to just own it own the fact that their mother daughter relationship is fractured because her mom did something pretty shitty McLean owed her nothing because if you screw up, down or inside out, you can t just expect an apology to fix everything that s wrong Life just isn t that way Actions have consequences, andso selfish actions destroy relationships When this scene was unraveling before my eyes, I was so much on McLean s side that I felt myself rooting for her all the way.
Funny thing with books a character can do or say one small thing to claim your allegiance and that s exactly what happened here This book is made especially for Sarah Dessen s true fans With her you re not going to get a rushed story, but rather a slow and steady development of a situation Dessen doesn t play the love triangle game and most importantly you won t come across a guy and girl that have a chance meeting with tireless declarations of love, but rather a girl that has so much crap going on in her life that the last thing she wants or expects is a guy that s going to sweep her off her feet and spew love sonnets So when she meets the one, he s the guy that s there for her, that challenges her to be who she really is and not hide behind false pretences, the guy that s there when you need him and when the clouds and cobwebs are lifted, he s the one that she sees as her 2am Beautiful and real Now that s what I call awesomesause Give me.